News  |  PolicyWelfare

ACOSS and Greens call for $95 Newstart rise

Friday, 31st January 2020 at 4:44 pm
Luke Michael
Anti-poverty advocates previously called for a $75 a week Newstart increase

Friday, 31st January 2020
at 4:44 pm
Luke Michael



ACOSS and Greens call for $95 Newstart rise
Friday, 31st January 2020 at 4:44 pm

Anti-poverty advocates previously called for a $75 a week Newstart increase

The Australian Council of Social Service has updated its demand to raise Newstart because of the rising cost of living pressures, with the group now calling for a $95 a week raise to the payment.

This revised figure was calculated using a wage index based on new research from UNSW’s Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC), which ACOSS also used to calculate its previous demand for a $75 a week payment rise. 

This call has already been embraced by The Greens, who say the federal government’s continued failure to act has meant those on Newstart are falling even further behind.

ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said the decision was made in light of steep increases in the cost of housing and other essentials.

“Raising the rate by $95 per week will get Newstart working by allowing people to cover the basics, instead of being forced to skip meals, sleep rough and miss medication, which makes finding paid work even harder,” Goldie said. 

“The benefits of increasing Newstart would be felt in the economy immediately, particularly in regional and rural areas, including those affected by fires.”

The campaign to raise Newstart has a long and complex history, but public pressure to raise the unemployment benefit payment has increased in recent months.

Last July, the Senate launched an inquiry into the rate of Newstart – which is currently around $40 a day.

The inquiry, due to report in March, has heard stories of Newstart recipients losing their homes, skipping meals, self-harming, and being forced to ration their insulin.

Greens Senator Rachel Siewert has been a long-time advocate for raising Newstart, having introduced several bills to raise the rate by $75 a week.

She confirmed that The Greens had also shifted their position to support a $95 a week Newstart raise.

“The government’s continued failure to act has meant that those trying to survive on Newstart are falling even further behind, prompting ACOSS to call for a higher increase in Newstart. This is desperately needed,” Siewert told Pro Bono News.

“The Greens support ACOSS’s calls for an increase to Newstart beyond $75 and think the $95 recommended by ACOSS is more realistic.”

Newstart has not increased in real terms since 1994.

Dr Bruce Bradbury from the SPRC said this needed to change.

“Over the past two decades, Newstart has steadily fallen relative to both other income support payments and wages,” Bradbury said.

“Currently, single adult Newstart recipients receive only $284 per week, which is only 61 per cent of the amount received by single pensioners and 38 per cent of the minimum wage.”

Luke Michael  |  Journalist  |  @luke_michael96

Luke Michael is a journalist at Pro Bono News covering the social sector.

Got a story to share?

Got a news tip or article idea for Pro Bono News? Or perhaps you would like to write an article and join a growing community of sector leaders sharing their thoughts and analysis with Pro Bono News readers?

Get in touch at

Get more stories like this


One Comment

  • prefer not to disclose says:

    this can’t come soon enough. I am one of those with disability forced onto NEWSTART. my long term injuries (i.e. ~30 years) are not yet fully diagnosed, and my Dementia is reversible according to Centrelink’s assessor. Consequently, I am living on $2/week after rent and utilities, and need to rely on family or charity for food.

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Welfare groups wary of Centrelink reporting changes

Luke Michael

Wednesday, 29th January 2020 at 4:18 pm

Fears welfare card holders could be left high and dry in bushfires

Maggie Coggan

Monday, 13th January 2020 at 4:41 pm


Government temporarily doubles unemployment payments amid COVID-19 outbreak

Luke Michael

Monday, 23rd March 2020 at 4:43 pm

Calls to extend coronavirus supplement to DSP recipients

Luke Michael

Tuesday, 24th March 2020 at 5:03 pm

Government unveils stimulus support for charities

Luke Michael

Monday, 23rd March 2020 at 5:36 pm

Urgent calls for targeted COVID-19 response for people with disability

Luke Michael

Monday, 16th March 2020 at 4:51 pm

pba inverse logo
Subscribe Twitter Facebook

Get the social sector's most essential news coverage. Delivered free to your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday morning.

You have Successfully Subscribed!